Sunday, 10 January 2016

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Series: Passenger #1

Publication: January 5th 2016 by Disney-Hyperion 

Goodreads description:
passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.

My thoughts: (spoiler- free)
I had extremely high expectations going into Passenger. I have heard nothing but amazing things about it and I am also a huge fan of Alexandra Bracken's other books, The Darkest Minds. I think my expectations affected  my reading experiences which is a bit sad.  It took me a bit to get into Passenger because I was anticipating this amazing treasure hunt trough time from the first page. We do get the treasure hunt though time but it is not until later in the story. Overall though I did really enjoy the book when I put my expectations and all the hype aside.

Alexandra Bracken has definitely  stepped up her game in the writing department. The writing in Passenger is completely different to The Darkest Minds. It's so much more sophisticated which I loved. I really like seeing author grow and try different styles of writing. Passenger is written in the third person from both Etta and Nicholas' point of view. They each have their own voices. I felt like Etta's POV had lots of description and dialogue whereas Nicholas's POV was mostly his thoughts.

I loved Etta. I found her chapters much easier to read than Nicholas's. I really liked how her love for music really shined through in her descriptions of things. I liked how she brought her love for the violin with her through the passages and used it as a way to ground her. It made her seem like a ordinary girl in this fantasy world.

It took me a while to like Nicholas. He has lots of layers to him and can be a bit closed off. I did like how he softened up at points with Etta and eventually I did start to like him. Nicholas is a person of colour and I really appreciated how Alexandra Bracken tackled the issues of racism in all the different eras. I think she did a good job. There is a distinct lack of people of colour within YA books so I definitely approve! Yay for diversity!

Of course there had to be a romance, and unfortunately I wasn't the biggest fan of it. It felt a bit rushed. I wasn't invested in the characters  individually yet so how could be invested in their relationship. Personally I like the characters to be really fleshed out and build a friendship first before taking it a step forward into a romance. I just felt like the friendship was skipped over and they jumped right into being in love.

The plot takes about half of the book before it really gets rolling, but when it does the story gets amazing. As soon as we start time travelling to different periods in time I was captivated. I couldn't put the book down. And the ending! That ending was just... No words. I need the next book!

I loved how the setting got changed every now and then. There was lots of detail so obviously a lot of research went into it which I really appreciated. I would have liken to stay in some of the places for a little  longer to explore some more but I understand why the characters had to move on.

I haven't really read time travel before so I was worried I would be confused but Bracken explained the time travel in a way that was easily understood. There was a little bit of info dumping but I didn't mind for the most part because it was so interesting. The rules created were fascinating and made sense.

Passenger was a great first book in a duology. It held my attention for the most part and I only had a few problems with. I'm very excited to see where the story goes.

My rating: 4 out of 5!

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